Steamboat Springs There are likely to be a lot of women, men their children and extended family members donning pink ribbons throughout October.
In part, the ribbons are a reminder that there are more than a million women nationwide who have breast cancer and don't know it, said Debbie Curd, who is heading up a local campaign to heighten breast cancer awareness.
"I had a dear friend die last year after a long battle with breast cancer," Curd said. "I made a promise to myself to join the fight to stop breast cancer. I looked at my life and career and asked how I could make a difference. Obviously, taking the message to television was a natural."
Curd is an AT&T Media Services staff member and is producing a show called "Local Portraits."
The half-hour program interviews five local survivors and four Yampa Valley medical professionals to teach and inform residents about breast cancer prevention, treatment, coping and loss.
Registered nurse Jan Fritz, director of the local Women Coping With Cancer group, is also supporting national Breast Cancer Awareness month.
"Eighty-five percent of the women in the group have been through breast cancer, and the group is really eager to get information out. There is a large number of local women who have been diagnosed, and we want to let people know how to be preventive and not to be afraid that any lump or bump is cancer," Fritz said.
The Women Coping with Cancer group is encouraging women to get their annual mammograms, especially if they are 40 or older.
"But self-breast examinations are for everyone," Fritz added. "Mammograms, regular physical exams and self-exams are the primary defenses against it."
Curd said every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and every 12 minutes a woman dies from it. Half of all diagnosed women will die.
Breast cancer has been steadily on the rise since the 1940s and despite early detection the associated mortality rate is unchanged.
One in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, Fritz added.
It is the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 35 and 54.
An information table will be set up at this month's chamber mixer, where people can pick up literature and pledge cards to make breast cancer awareness a political issue.
"Breast cancer is more than a health, family and woman's issue. It is also a political one," Curd said. "Every day in Washington, D.C., and in all state capitals, the people we elect make decisions about breast cancer detection, treatment, prevention and cure. The pledge card is your chance to make your voice be heard and place a vote for a cure."
The community is invited to join the breast cancer awareness campaign in any way they can. Individuals or businesses who would like to contribute or participate, call Debbie Curd at 871-7300. For further information visit www.stopbreastcancer.org.
"Local Portraits" will air three times daily in October, at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on AT&T Channel 10.
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org